Visas denied to 35 Haitian women

By Marwa Siam Abdou, The Gazette:

MONTREAL – A visitor visa was denied to 35 women from Haiti who were scheduled to participate in the Haitan arts exhibit known as the Foire de Creations Artisanales Haïtienne.

Caroline Thélémaque, founder of the organization Women for Haiti (FAH) and director of finance for SOS Haiti, was forced to cancel the event which was supposed to take place from August 17 to the 19.

In a press release issued by her organization, she expressed her disappointment with the Canadian embassy in Haiti – describing the decision as unacceptable and appalling – and asked for the assistance of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“The Haitan community goes to great lengths to welcome and accommodate these women in Canada,” expressed Thélémaque.


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3 thoughts on “Visas denied to 35 Haitian women

  1. I think that you will find the request for visas was filed with little time to complete the process.

    A project, of this type, should see the requests filed months in advance, along with program details.

    The Haitian Minister of Tourism thinks she is some sort of God but there are certain time protocols that even God cannot overcome.

    Don’t blame the Canadians, on this one.

    It is actually just another example of Haitians’ lack of understanding for paperwork.

  2. There is reason to suspect our Minister of Tourism collected some $2000US or more for the visas, even though the Canadian Consulate does not charge more than a simple filing fee.

    Many times, in the past, Haitian promoters of art shows in the States have charged artists thousands for visas. Then, when the Consulate gives approval, for a certain number of artists, the promoter sells the visas to non-artists with a few thousand available – for a visa.

    It is an old game in Haiti.

  3. 35 Haitian women denied visas to attend art show
    Art exhibit cancelled
    CBC News
    Posted: Aug 19, 2012 3:47 PM ET
    Last Updated: Aug 19, 2012 3:45 PM ET

    Members of the Women in Action for Haiti group had been working on the show for nearly a year.

    For the second time this week, organizers of an event in Montreal are scrambling after Citizenship and Immigration Canada blocked participants from traveling to the city.
    Members of Montreal’s Haitian community were forced to cancel an art exhibit because 35 women from Haiti, who were supposed to participate, couldn’t get temporary visas.

    Caroline Thélémaque, with Women in Action for Haiti, said she couldn’t believe Immigration Canada withheld temporary visas for all the participants in the exhibit she was organizing.
    She said her group has been working on the show for nearly a year.

    Thélémaque said the federal government told her it needed more evidence the women would return home after the exhibit.
    “We really vetted these women. We made sure that these women are women that travel, you know, in conferences, fighting for the women of Haiti,” she said.

    This week, the government also refused to let a team of soccer players from Morocco come to Montreal.
    Immigration lawyer Stewart Istvanffy said this type of rejection is nothing new.

    “It’s been going on for a decade or two, I think that the immigration department does not like refugees and wants to have more control of who gets into this country,” he said.
    No one from Immigration Canada was available to comment on this issue.

    But earlier this week, when asked about the Moroccan soccer players, it said the onus is on foreigners trying to get into the country to prove they will only stay temporarily.

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